JOURNAL June 2017

The view from my seat at the garden table.

Eryngium yuccifolium flowers. They tend to flop but attract so many good insects that I let them be.

I wasn’t much of a daylily fan until coming to Kansas. But any plant that can thrive in tough prairie conditions deserves respect, so last year I added several Hemerocallis cultivars. I’m glad I did.

Hemerocallis ‘Ice Carnival.’

Hemerocallis ‘Sea Gold.’

Hemerocallis ‘Hyperion.’

hemerocallis chicago apache best

Hemerocallis ‘Chicago Apache.’

hemerocallis south seas 1

Hemerocallis ‘South Seas.’ The flower is a bit out of focus but what a color.

hemerocallis red unknown

An unknown red. The elongated petals suggest spider parentage.

urn bed overhead

The urn bed is always a fragrant tangle: tall ‘Pesto Perpetuo’ basil, Greek oregano, creeping thyme, miniature red roses, lilies, red lettuce, Sedum, Solanum, a yellow-banded Miscanthus zebrinus grass, and Sporobulus heterolepis, Prairie Dropseed, in the urn–a truly excellent native grass; wiry, tough and beautiful.

poppy danish flag

‘Danish Flag’ poppies with bolting lettuce and escarole. The potted “Tennessee Cheese” pimento peppers, bottom left, wait patiently among Japanese eggplant seedlings and “Nebraska Wedding” tomatoes. The greens and poppies will be cleared out next week, the peppers go in.

okra bed

The okra bed, adjacent to the poppy and lettuce bed, also contains yellow-podded bush beans and red “Will Rogers” zinnias. Once the seedlings are up and the bed is thoroughly weeded, I’ll mulch with straw. I’m trying a new okra this season, “Stewart’s Zeebest,” a South African cultivar reputed to be extra heat-resistant, robust and prolific. The lone amaranth in the bed will grow at least seven feet tall to provide shade for the okra and greens for the soup pot.

garage bed barrow

The big barrow in the garage bed contains “Love Lies Bleeding” amaranth, a heavy re-seeder, and russet-skinned “Poona Kheera” cucumbers, probably the most vigorous and best-tasting cuke I’ve grown here so far. As the seedlings get bigger, I’ll put a trellis against the stones for them to climb.

garage bed love lies

Amaranthus caudatus ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ in the foreground; jalapenos and petunias in the big pot; wild arugula in the low planter.

barrow zucchini

A burly zucchini shares a barrow with white lantana and low-growing ‘Apricot Profusion’ zinnias, both popular with butterflies. The grass on the right is Chasmanthium latifolium, Indian woodoats, an almost too-vigorous spreader.

cassia

Speaking of vigorous, the coneflowers have put on quite a show this season. Both the straight species, the pinkish Echinacea purpurea, and it’s cultivar, ‘White Swan,’ seem determined to take over that bed. Plenty of passalongs for next Spring. The pinnate-leaved Popcorn bushes in the center, Cassia didimobotrya, are setting flower buds. The plants will grow at least another two feet over their month-long bloom period and both leaves and flowers do indeed smell of buttered popcorn. The pale purple flowers in back belong to our native bee balm, Monarda fistulosa, a fine mint for tea. True to name, they are covered in bees.

 

lily cobra

Lilium ‘Cobra’ looks fine with it’s bee balm neighbor.

pepper chinese 5-color coreopsis moonbeam

The fiery Chinese Five Color pepper, Capsicum annuum, sports purple, red, yellow, orange and white fruits. I use them in arrabbiata sauce. Here, it shares space with the demure ‘Moonbeam’ coreopsis.

bench bed face south

Good fruit set on the elderberries this year, looking forward to pie, jam and liqueur in Autumn. The pot on the stump contains the last of the ‘Red Sails’ lettuce, remarkably bolt-resistant in the Kansas heat, a keeper. Bush beans will replace the lettuce next week. The bluish grass, bottom left, is our native Little Bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium. Its lagging a bit this year due to a rough transplant in Spring but there’s plenty of new growth and Bluestems are rugged plants. To the right of the Bluestem is Iris pseudacorus, Yellow Flag, the model for the fleur-de-lis, often invasive in wet soils but well-behaved here. This clump in fairly dry soil is four years old and three feet tall. The same plants growing in the pond are well over six feet.

lilium white diamond

The Asiatic lily ‘Bright Diamond’ perfumes the entire garden in the evening.

rain 1

There is nothing like a Kansas storm. Torrential rains washed away most of the path mulch a couple of weeks ago.

rain 2

main path monty

Some new stone edging and a fresh application of mulch put things right again. The cat was instructed to walk back and forth on the paths until the mulch was well-tamped. He’s been at it for two days.

verbascum thapsus gov george aiken

Verbascum thapsus ‘Governor George Aiken,’ the cream-flowered cultivar of common Mullein, the chrome yellow flowers you see along railroad tracks. This plant is more than eight feet tall.

verbascum gov geo

solanum atropurpureum malevolence 2

Solanum atropurpureum ‘Malevolence,’ appropriately named. What thorns!

The watering can and the toilet

Take a break, little buddy.

wini dayton bored

As always, my young gardening friends take great interest in my horticultural monologues.

amaranthus coleus ipomoea zucchini 2

kniphofia uvaria unknown yellow

pear bed 2

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